Omar Abdullah will be the National Conference’s chief ministerial candidate, the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said on Sunday. He also said he would himself contest the LokSabha elections from Srinagar.
Addressing his maiden political rally in Jammu after the announcement of the schedules for the general elections, Farooq said: “If I promise anything here, people will say Farooq Abdullah tried to buy votes, but I will clear one thing: I am not your chief ministerial candidate”.
“I am not in race of the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. I am too old for that. Omar will be the chief minister after the assembly elections,” he said.
“He (Omar) is young, energetic and experienced. I’m growing old and can’t run (the state) like other young people in politics, but Omar is able to give them a competition,” Farooq said, while talking about new entries into Kashmir’s mainstream politics, without naming the former IAS officer Shah Faesal, who launched his own political party Sunday.
Maintaining that he will continue to be in politics, Farooq, who is contesting from the Srinagar parliamentary constituency, which he is already representing, said: “I will contribute in the parliament, where I’m definitely landing again. I am very much sure about it”.
The former chief minister said that “we have to make the country stronger in the parliament”.
“Our fight is against the divisive forces. We will ensure that we unite the country. In the parliament, the NC will not only represent the state (of Jammu and Kashmir), but make people of every sect and religion stronger,” he said.
Earlier, he accused the NarendraModi-led central government for failing to keep his election promises.
“In 2014, they (BJP) had promised two crore jobs annually, Rs 15 lakh in accounts of people, controlling prices of essential commodities and household goods, but none of these promises was fulfilled. People feel cheated,” he said.
“Indian forces carried our air strikes in Pakistan and we all feel proud of our soldiers, but at the same time we feel the pain of soldiers who are killed on a daily basis. The overall atmosphere being created suggests that the country is not in danger, but Modi is in danger”.
“They (BJP) divide the people first on the basis of religion, castes, sub-castes, but our aim is to unite all hindustanis (Indians),” he said.
Farooq blamed BJP for “creating fear psychosis across the country by crying hoarse over the nation being in danger”, according to a National Conference statement.
“India is not in danger; it is the BJP which is in danger due to rug slipping from under the feet of the Prime Minister ahead of general elections,” Farooq said.
Referring to air strike across the border in the wake of Pulwama attack, Farooq “regretted the expression of selective outrage, saying similar concern and anguish should have been demonstrated over the killing of security forces in Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh and elsewhere”, the statement read.
“Nobody from the Centre even visited those martyrs,” Farooq said.
He slammed the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for “rising inflation and non-fulfillment of commitments made to the people during the 2014 elections”. “Modi used to censure the Centre as chief minister of Gujarat on rising prices and growing unemployment but now he has no answers or explanations to offer to the people,” he said.
“Now we are witnessing euphoria over stopping the Chenab spillover to Pakistan”, he said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir has been “worst sufferer of the Indus Water Treaty”.
He regretted that the project cost of harnessing Chenab waters has escalated manifold due to lackadaisical approach in its implementation.
He asked the BJP to “desist from dividing the people and vitiating the atmosphere for deriving political dividends”.
“People will reject such tendencies and isolate the reactionary forces to ensure that the nation progresses and prospers as a united and strong entity,” he said.
Farooq was flanked by the party’s candidate from Jammu-PoonchLokSabha constituency, B R Kundal, provincial president Davinder Singh Rana and senior leader T S Wazir and others.